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Range-wide patterns of migratory connectivity in the western sandpiper Calidris mauri

January 1, 2012

Understanding the population dynamics of migratory animals and predicting the consequences of environmental change requires knowing how populations are spatially connected between different periods of the annual cycle. We used stable isotopes to examine patterns of migratory connectivity across the range of the western sandpiper Calidris mauri. First, we developed a winter isotope basemap from stable-hydrogen (δD), -carbon (δ13C), and -nitrogen (δ15N) isotopes of feathers grown in wintering areas. δD and δ15N values from wintering individuals varied with the latitude and longitude of capture location, while δ13C varied with longitude only. We then tested the ability of the basemap to assign known-origin individuals. Sixty percent of wintering individuals were correctly assigned to their region of origin out of seven possible regions. Finally, we estimated the winter origins of breeding and migrant individuals and compared the resulting empirical distribution against the distribution that would be expected based on patterns of winter relative abundance. For breeding birds, the distribution of winter origins differed from expected only among males in the Yukon-Kuskokwim (Y-K) Delta and Nome, Alaska. Males in the Y-K Delta originated overwhelmingly from western Mexico, while in Nome, there were fewer males from western North America and more from the Baja Peninsula than expected. An unexpectedly high proportion of migrants captured at a stopover site in the interior United States originated from eastern and southern wintering areas, while none originated from western North America. In general, we document substantial mixing between the breeding and wintering populations of both sexes, which will buffer the global population of western sandpipers from the effects of local habitat loss on both breeding and wintering grounds.

Publication Year 2012
Title Range-wide patterns of migratory connectivity in the western sandpiper Calidris mauri
DOI 10.1111/j.1600-048X.2012.05573.x
Authors Samantha E. Franks, D. Ryan Norris, T. Kurt Kyser, Guillermo Fernández, Birgit Schwarz, Roberto Carmona, Mark A. Colwell, Jorge Correa Sandoval, Alexey Dondua, H. River Gates, Ben Haase, David J. Hodkinson, Ariam Jiménez, Richard B. Lanctot, Brent Ortego, Brett K. Sandercock, Felicia J. Sanders, John Y. Takekawa, Nils Warnock, Ron C. Ydenberg, David B. Lank
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Avian Biology
Index ID 70124929
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center